Christmas 2011 came and went without a new iPad, but if you're still thinking of getting yourself a new tablet at after-Christmas sales, check out the Acer Iconia A500 and Samsung Galaxy Tab 10.1. Both are 10-inch Android powered tablets, but the Iconia is cheaper by $100. While Acer has a reputation for building inexpensive yet middling laptops, their venture into the tablet world is a chance for them to put their stamp on a still very new sector. Samsung on the other hand is the big dog on the tablet block next to Apple, and their prices reflect it.
The A500 is a 16 gigabyte tablet with cameras on front and back, good resolution, full-size USB and mini HDMI ports and average battery life. It should also get the Android 4.0 update in early 2012. Galaxy Tab 10.1 is also a 16 gigabyte device, but it has a bit better of a camera than the Iconia A500, is a bit lighter and could get the Android 4.0 update even sooner. That's because Samsung is the company that built the Galaxy Nexus smartphone for Google, so they might get the first shot at updating their tablets as well.
Both devices are available in 32 gigabyte versions, and the Iconia A500 also comes in an AT&T supported 4G version. One major difference is in the software. Samsung adds their TouchWiz software to the Android system and the Iconia A500 is more of a stock Android interface. Additionally, Samsung uses plastic throughout the Galaxy Tab build, and some people don't like the feel because they think it's cheaply made. The A500 is made with brushed aluminum on the back, and while it feels and looks nice, it does add weight. Acer may not have made a tablet with the best battery or cameras, but if you can look past that, the much lower price compared to the Galaxy Tab makes it the recommended buy. Tell us in the comments if you're still shopping for that perfect tablet.